Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canucks take it up a notch

Third-period surge too much for Jets to handle

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VANCOUVER -- They were close and might have deserved something on Thursday night, but the only move the Winnipeg Jets made was down in the standings.

Losing 3-2 on a late goal by Sami Pahlsson of the Vancouver Canucks, the Jets dropped to ninth spot in the Eastern Conference after the Washington Capitals pulled a late comeback and won in overtime.

Washington and the Jets are at 72 points, but the Caps have played one fewer game.

Pahlsson scored with a wicked screen shot with just 5:43 left in regulation time, capping a rally that saw Vancouver overcome a 2-1 Jets lead early in the third.

"I didn't see it at all," Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec said of Pahlsson's winning shot under the crossbar. "No way. It was over my shoulder.

"We did a turnover in their zone and then they come up to our zone and got the middle. It was too late to do something about it.

"We could have won the game but too many mistakes."

Once Blake Wheeler had established the Jets' 2-1 lead early in the third, the Canucks really bumped the pace to win their first game in three outings before 18,890 fans at Rogers Arena, more than just a few of them cheering for the Jets.

"We didn't really skate most of the game," Wheeler said. "Those guys are good, a good team, but if we skate and play a certain way, they're no better than us.

"You've go to give them credit because they really turned things up in the third after we scored the second goal, but it was a byproduct of us not pushing the force like we really can.

"We were back, not really an odd-man opportunity and the guy made a hell of a shot, right under the bar. It wasn't much of a breakdown. It was too good of a spot we let him get a shot off from."

The Jets fell to 32-28-8, with the bad news that they're 11-18-4 on the road. They have just 14 games to play, the next tonight in Calgary.

Early in the third, following a Pavelec save on a David Booth rush for Vancouver, the Jets turned it the other way and Wheeler picked the short side form a sharp angle to put the Jets ahead for the first time in the game.

Wheeler was able to dance around a diving attempt at a check by Canucks defenceman Alex Edler and he caught Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider leaning away from the close post, anticpating a pass.

The lead held for just less than three minutes as the Canucks upped the tempo.

Vancouver squared the game when Edler's weak, wobbly shot from the point bounced and found the back of the net behind Pavelec.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2012 C2

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